0800 060 8698 info@glenigan.com

Request a Call

We encourage you to read our privacy and cookies policy.

Rising pupil numbers promise to drive growth in expanded and new secondary education facilities over the next five years.

The immediate prospects for statutory education provision however are less certain. Recent years have seen strong growth in primary education provision in response to rising pupil numbers. As these pupils age, the focus is now switching to secondary education facilities. However, forewarned does not appear to be forearmed and there is danger that the provision of new places is likely to lag behind rising demand.  

Rising pupil numbers are expected to feed through as increased pressure on secondary schools capacity during 2016. However despite growth in projects achieving approval in 2015, existing plans seem insufficient to meet this rise. 

Official figures show that the secondary school population has been falling since 2005 and was 2,740,000 in 2015. However, the number of pupils in state-funded secondary schools starts to rise in 2016 as a result of increases in the birth rate since 2002. The secondary school population is projected to continue rising during the projection period, reaching 3,287,000 by 2024 (an increase of 20% on the 2015 population). Given that analysis from the House of Commons library, for the Labour Party, shows one in six mainstream secondary schools are already at or overcapacity, pressure on the existing estate, especially in major urban conurbations, is set to grow progressively. 

However, councils have argued that current Government policy can frustrate their ability to ensure that there are sufficient pupil places in their area. 

Near term, councils are likely to accommodate rising pupil numbers through the expansion of existing schools, although with 60% of secondary schools now academies, council need to persuade these schools to expand to accommodate the rise in pupil numbers. 

Furthermore under government rules, all new state schools must be "free schools", outside local authority control. Where local authorities identify the need for a new school they are required by law to invite proposals to run a new free school and then forward these to the department to decide who would be best placed to do this. Councils report that securing interest from providers can be slow and drawn out. The Local Government Association (LGA) says councils should be given powers to build schools themselves if necessary and that funding allocations should be provided in five-year blocks to allow councils to work with local schools to financially plan long-term.

The recent faltering in project starts and political uncertainties dampened project starts during 2015, with growth during the year slowing to 4%. We expect further weakness in government funded work actually reaching start on site. This is forecast to feed through as 7% drop in the value of starts this year, despite the positive backdrop of expanding university construction.

Not a Glenigan Customer?

Request a free demo of Glenigan today so we can show the size of the opportunity for your business.